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Major Festivals Of Nepal
Nepal has more festivals than the number of days in a year. A festival is always a meaningful and memorable event in the life of Nepalese people. Every festival has some purpose to serve. From bringing in the rain to honoring the dead or averting calamities, every festival has something spiritual about it. Festival is a way of life in Nepal. With the number of festivals that Nepal has, it is one of the best ways to understand and appreciate the Nepalese ways of life. The dates of Nepali festivals are according to the lunar calendar. Hence the date of festivals varies from year to year. Some of the major festivals of Nepal are:
New Year's Day : - (First day of Baisakh)
Rato Machhendranath Rath Jatra :- The festival of Lokeswar, one of the patron Gods of Kathmandu. A 40-foot tall chariot with the God's image installed is pushed and pulled through the streets by hundreds of worshippers.
No major festivals in the monsoon season.
Ghanta Kharna :- A festival commemorating an ancient victory over a particularly malevolent devil, Gathemuga. Mock funerals are held and figures burned in effigy.
Guru Poornima :- Teacher's Day
Gaijatra(Cow Festival) :- A festival to the sacred cow. Among other symbolisms of the cow, cows are believed to lead the souls of the dead to the underworld; and on Gaijatra Newar households process around an ancient path believed to mark the city walls of times past, in honor of recently deceased members of their families. It's also a carnival celebration with practical jokes - something like Mardi Gras combined with April Fool's day.
Bada Dashain :- The biggest and most widely celebrated national festival in Nepal, usually falls in early October. It begins with Ghatsthapana. Of the two full weeks of celebrations, the 8th, 9th and 10th are the most eventful and auspicious days. The main deity worshipped during Dashain is Goddess Durga. On the 9th day, thousands of devotees visit important Durga temples to worship her. The tenth day is climax day. People visit to seniors for Tika (blessings). The ministers, high-ranking officials, general public queue to get Tika from their Majesty in Royal Palace.
Tihar :- It is also known as Diwali or Deepavali, is the festival of lights in Nepal. The celebrations continue for five days. It is an annual festival celebrated in the bright blue days of autumn. The festival begins with the worship of crows, followed by the worship of dogs on the 2nd day. On the 3rd day, Laxmi, the goddess of wealth, is worshipped. On the 5th day, one's own soul is worshipped. Sisters also worship their brothers on this day. This is called Bhai Tika, and is a great day and the grand finale to Tihar.
Seto Machhendranath :- A cleansing ritual for the White (seto) Machhendranath, a counterpart god to the Red (rato) Machhendranath who's chariot procession is in April-May.
Prithivi Jayanti :- This festival is celebrated in honor of King Prithvi Narayan Shah, the founder of Modern Nepal, with a colorful ceremony in front of the Singh Durbar Gate in Kathmandu.
Losar :- It is one of the greatest festivals of significant importance to the Sherpas and peoples of Tibetan origin. It is celebrated every year in February. The focus of this festival centers around the celebration of the Tibetan New Year. Many fascinating rituals and celebrations may be observed in Boudha and in Tibetan settlements such as the Tibetan Refugee Camp at Jawlakhel, Patan.
Shiva Ratri :- Shivaratri or the night of Lord Shiva, is observed in March. It is celebrated in honour of Lord Shiva. A great religious fair takes places in the Pashupatinath Tmple and thousands of people from all over Nepal and India visit the temple.